Circadian rhythm of water balance and aldosterone excretion in the whitebellied sunbird Nectarinia talatala
Fleming, P.A., Gray, D.A. and Nicolson, S.W. (2004) Circadian rhythm of water balance and aldosterone excretion in the whitebellied sunbird Nectarinia talatala. Journal of Comparative Physiology B: Biochemical, Systemic, and Environmental Physiology, 174 (4). pp. 341-346.
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Nectarivorous whitebellied sunbirds, Nectarinia talatala, demonstrate distinct circadian patterns in osmoregulatory parameters. We recorded intake of a 1 mol/l sucrose solution which enabled calculation of total water gain, and collected cloacal fluid for measurements of volume, osmolality and aldosterone concentration. These variables were assessed hourly over 12 h of photophase, and averaged over the 12-h scotophase period. Overnight, when sunbirds were in negative water balance, aldosterone concentrations and outputs were significantly higher than diurnal levels, reflecting a shut-down of cloacal fluid production. Early morning was marked by a high rate of osmotic excretion, disproportionate to water gain or cloacal fluid output, followed by steady intake and cloacal fluid output during the morning and early afternoon. Reduced water flux (decreased feeding and cloacal fluid output) during mid-afternoon was accompanied by a paradoxical decline in osmotic excretion, whilst a significant increase in the discrepancy between water intake and output was recorded as the birds effectively stored water before the scotophase. These patterns of intake and excretion may be informative in explaining drinking and foraging behaviour in the field.
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